…and cue the Inevitable Hot Water?
How great is this man? On
a day when the bleary gaze of the sports journo’s is mebbes gonna meander distractedly like between Sharapova’s
knicker-line and Hope Powell’s dug-out, it turns out (naturally like) that St James’
Park Geordieland is in hot wartah. Or the
car park is. Or hundreds of feet below
is. Does the chairman know, ah wundah? Does he have a plan? Is it under control? Or is Alan Pardew out there in ‘is wellies,
with a bucket, man?
But yeh, given this is Wimbledon Time… and therefore we are ‘dreaming of parses’ not Premier league points… what gives? Apart from Sharapova? And the annual uproar in respect of her
erm… her racket. Surely good people, the
‘interest ‘ in her ‘screaming’ says
something more profound about our attitudes than it does about a perceived lack
of femininity – sorry, ‘femininity’ – in Sharapovaville. This noise issue is hardly a significant
problem in the women’s game. Lack of
movement and abundance of weight is,
Against the spirited
but frankly shockingly slow Brit Laura Robson (yes I mean nowhere near fit or
sharp or fast enough Robson, like fifty flatout shuttles a day short slow
Robson) Sharapova – whilst no better than average herself – prevailed with
crane-like poise relatively untroubled.
Robson – ‘our’ prodigy – is 17 and a great, wristy hitter; but slow. What the eff do her management think they
are doing? Sharapova won a slam event at
the same age. Ya need to be redd-ee. And yip, it’s a cruel
world for prodigies.
All of which brings us back to coaching; and fitness; and awareness/self-awareness. Knowing, actually, what’s necessary. I may be wrong but whatever her difficulties
with reported growth spurts and injury, our most virile young force in the
female game should not have been allowed to get heavy and slow. At 17.
Sorry. I’m just not sure there’s a way back from that.
Hey look the intensity and pace with which lots of the top women are hitting the
ball is little short of phenomenal. There
are athletes out there playing at a high level and there may be no reason why
they should in any sense be compared to the blokes. But it’s going to happen – it’s going to happen here, actually – especially if the
perception (rightly or wrongly) is that the women’s game is relatively poor. So
hang on a mo’ whilst I compose a fair sentence … if a provocative ferker.
There is no woman Djokovich.
Nobody with that focussed leanness, that stunning, merciless gearing.
(I am unwisely forced to go so far as to say that) beyond this, the
level of fitness amongst even some of the top tier women players is
insufficiently high for elite sport.
This is (within the limitations of our good-natured sporting discussion
here) unacceptable. Superb fitness must surely be
I’m sorry to have
picked on one of our best prospects but the teenage Robson needs to be bloody electric , at 17, to be a real contender;
and she is wooden.
More senior gals display a similar or more significant
weight/condition issue. They are too
heavy; they have bellies and big backsides – too big for a sport which revolves
around pace, agility, athleticism.
Yes but does the fact of the Williams sisters’ utter domination
of the women’s game for a decade (playing, remember as near part-timers) reinforce
or completely disabuse my argument? (I
am aware that their POWER GAME is inevitably at the core of our suddenly
convoluted debate here.)
So does it make
sense, is it necessary to be massive?
Drawing upon all my extensive relevant experience, my
sporting intuition and my brutal instinct for the popular I can only answer
a) I bloody hope not; for the game, the spectacle etc etc and
b) No; does it bollocks.
But we need to find some athletes – some gymnastic/electric/explosive
whirling dervishes. Who can hit!
Thank god St Henin, bless’er cotton socks, anti-dotes the POWER
issue entirely. Or would if she’d been an
ongoing, serial winner of slams. But how
would she fare, now, against the American soul-sisters?
Given that one view of Serena might be that she is arguably
best part of a stone too heavy for a top level tennis athlete and that Venus
looks notably undertoned this year, Henin at her (careful with the adjectives!)
lithe (ooh) impish (aah) and mercurial (eeeshh!) best would surely wupp their
ample arses. In her absence… who? Sharapova?
And… is that good coaching or the lurv of a gargantuan
geezer doing that? (Owtch!!)
27th June 2011.